Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Experts Doubt Iranian Long-Range Missile Claims in WikiLeaks Cables

Via -

On Oct. 10, to celebrate its 65th anniversary as a one-party state, North Korea unveiled a new missile in the type of military parade that for decades has been a hallmark of authoritarian regimes. The North Koreans call the missile the Musudan.

The Musudan is now playing a starring role in reports this week prompted by WikiLeaks’ release of U.S. diplomatic cables. One of the documents says that Iran has obtained 19 of the missiles from North Korea, prompting news reports suggesting that the Islamic republic can hit targets in Western Europe and deep into Russia – farther than Iran’s existing missiles can strike.

The problem, however, is that there is no indication that the Musudan, also known as the BM-25, is operational or that it has ever been tested. Iran has never publicly displayed the missiles, according to experts and a senior U.S. intelligence official, some of whom doubt the missiles were ever transferred to Iran. Experts who analyzed Oct. 10 photographs of the Musudan said it appeared to be a mock-up.

The snapshot provided by the cable illustrates how such documents – based on one meeting or a single source – can muddy an issue as much as it can clarify it. In this case, experts said, the inference that Iran can strike Western Europe with a new missile is unjustified.


This story illustrates a very important point - just because something (data, information, etc) is classified and kept censored from view doesn't actually mean it is true (or a fact).

Data has have to be vetted and verified become it become knowledge or "intelligence".
The terms information and knowledge are frequently used for overlapping concepts. The main difference is in the level of abstraction being considered. Data is the lowest level of abstraction, information is the next level, and finally, knowledge is the highest level among all three. Data on its own carries no meaning. In order for data to become information, it must be interpreted and take on a meaning.
A single message from a single embassy or a single event log from a single solider is neither vetted nor verified.

No comments:

Post a Comment